Mission Nonprofit Spotlight: The Hawk Foundation for Research and Education in African Culture

Each month, Thurston Community Media (TCMedia)’s Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that are making positive impacts in our communities. This month, Mission Nonprofit host Deborah Vinsel sat down with Javoen Byrd, founder of The Hawk Foundation for Research and Education in African Culture.

The Hawk Foundation’s mission is “the promotion of education, holistic health and trauma healing in the African American community, with recognition that when one is healed it touches those around them.” They do this by empowering their community to come up with solutions for many common issues faced today including, “educational disparity, mass incarceration, economic and political development.”  The Foundation accomplishes this through educational seminars, lectures and workshops. This has included after-school programs at local schools, kindergarten through 12th grade. Currently, they are working with The Evergreen State College to see about doing university-level programs to create a multicultural education experience for students.

“By African cultures we mean cultures of African descent,” explains Byrd. “It started about three years ago. We had a fiscal sponsor, Media Island International, a nonprofit based in Olympia, and the goal of the nonprofit was actually to implement diverse education.” Byrd is an ethnomusicologist, having received his undergrad degree and master’s at University of Washington. His focus was West African music, specifically music from the Europa tribe of the southwest region of Nigeria, and the affect of West African music within the U.S.

“I’m an anthropologist,” he shares. “I study the relationship between African and African-American music and how that’s also permeated throughout the whole U.S. culture.”

Growing up in Washington, he noticed that our education curriculums were lacking in some areas, such as African history, Chinese history, etc. He became the head coordinator at The Evergreen State College for the Black Student Union, focusing on bringing African-American history and African-American music to our education curriculums.

Bryd and his group of like-minded friends, decided to form an organization that could provide this history and education supplementation for Washington State. Board members include professors, people with public health backgrounds and more.

The Hawk Foundation is also a healing space for the African-American community that uses African modalities. “So, it’s implementing that scholarly and that health focus into understand that education in general can be healing,” Byrd explains.

You can help by donating funds towards more research and development of more educational materials to schools. For more information, watch the full video and visit the The Hawk Foundation for Research and Education in African Culture website.

You can watch Mission Nonprofit on channel 77 on Sundays at 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. You can also watch on TCMedia.org, Video On-Demand or our Roku channel. To learn more about what TCMedia does, visit the Thuston Community Media YouTube channel or the TC Media website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


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